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Daniel Bard strikes out seven in final rotation audition

Mar 30, 2012, 6:33 PM EDT

Daniel Bard AP

Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront didn’t do much to make the Red Sox’s decision for them in their final bids for the two openings in the rotation.

Bard followed the solid outings by Aceves and Doubront yesterday with six innings of three-run ball against the Twins on Friday. A Justin Morneau double was the only extra-base hit he allowed, and he struck out seven and walked three on his way to a win.

It figures to be Bard’s final official outing of the spring, barring a move to send him to the pen and have him make a relief appearance early next week. He went 2-2 with a 6.57 ERA and an 18/16 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings.

Aceves and Doubront both outpitched Bard, who was the clear favorite for the fourth spot going into the spring. Aceves had a 5.50 ERA, but nine of the 11 earned runs he allowed came in one outing and he was very good in the other four. Doubront had a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings.

The guess is that Doubront will be the fifth starter, since he wouldn’t be the same kind of weapon out of the pen than Bard or Aceves would be. Bard still appears to be the favorite for the fourth spot, if only by default. One thing working in his favor: it’s doubtful the Red Sox would consider returning him to the rotation later after starting him in the pen. Aceves, on the other hand, is versatile enough to go back and forth if needed.

  1. hammyofdoom - Mar 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    With how great Bard’s fastball/slider combo can be, I think he has to beat out aceves as the 4th starter. Last year when he DID start, I believe Alfredo’s ERA was above 5 and his control really suffered as a starter (I remember seeing him plunk the leadoff hitter in a game more than once, as well as having bad control in general). Also he is far more versatile out of the ‘pen, with something like 49 out of his 105 relief appearances in his career have been for over 2 innings. He is a perfect swing-man, to be able to come in a game in the 5th inning to pitch for 2-3-4 innings, or to pop in during the 7th to hopefully shut a team down late in the game

    • baseballisboring - Mar 30, 2012 at 7:27 PM

      Agreed, I think Bard will at least get the chance. I was a little more optimistic about his chances of starting before the spring training stats he put up, but he does have a great fastball/slider combination, and his two seamer and change have been good at times. Control is really the issue though…when you’re throwing 98-99 you can get away with more mistakes than at 93-94. He definitely tends to miss his spots, but given our lack of depth I say we run him out there for at least a few starts and see how he looks.

  2. bigharold - Mar 30, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Bard really needs to go back to the pen. He’s pretty much a two pitch pitcher and his stuff doesn’t translate well in the rotation. He’s a classic thrower, .. not a pitcher and when the lineup starts seeing him for the second and third time they are going to hit him hard.

    He better be making progress on that change up.

    • uyf1950 - Mar 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

      One additional thing to consider is the performance of Melancon this ST. He has not looked very good and the Sox could be in trouble if they start the season with him as the set up guy.

      I’m thinking Aceves and Doubront get the 2 final spot and Bard goes back to being the set up guy with Melancon being the 7th inning guy.

      • bigharold - Mar 31, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        I think I’d leave Aceves in the pen. Aside from his versatility I;m not certain that his back can stand up to then’t grind of the rotation with 30 starts.

        I really like Aceves and wasn’t at all happy when the Yankees let him go but with that said I think his best slot is the pen especially if they are looking to protect his health.

  3. aceshigh11 - Mar 30, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    See? This is what kills me…

    He hunkers down and gives a great performance, which is going to help him win his spot in the rotation…and then watch: he’ll completely fall apart.

  4. buffalomafia - Mar 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Lets go Yankees?

    • sasquash20 - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:49 PM

      I’m not even a Sox fan and I think you suck!

  5. deadeyedesign23 - Mar 30, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    I nearly went cross eyed trying to read the first sentence of this post.

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 30, 2012 at 7:34 PM

      Because it’s barely english

    • cur68 - Mar 30, 2012 at 10:35 PM

      Clearly missing the word “easier” between “the Red Sox’s decision” & “for them” in that sentence. Somebody’s ADD posting.

  6. bozosforall - Mar 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Red Sox…fourth place in the AL East this year.

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